Investing In The NEW Information Superhighway

Remember the term “information superhighway?” It was purportedly coined by Al Gore in 1978 while he addressed a group of technology professionals (although the attribution to Al Gore drew a lot of criticism).  The term eventually was adopted more widely in the 1990s to describe the Internet at large, including the Web and email. Most described it as primarily a one-way dialogue -- a presentation of information -- as opposed to what it has evolved to be today.

Today we can talk about evolving the term information superhighway into something that encompasses the multidimensional ecosystem that it is: a multi-way street in which users have unlimited opportunities to connect, interact, buy, sell, submit -- and, for us marketers, collect… data, that is. 

Sophisticated systems have been developed to collect and process big data to make it digestible for analysts and marketers.  The greater depth and speed of customer insight available through these new systems can turn today’s novice email marketer into tomorrow’s leader.



Below are some tips for successfully navigating the big data lane to come out ahead on today’s new information superhighway.

Collect now, use later. Conventional wisdom for email marketing data collection says, “Don’t ask for what you won’t use.”  However, marketers now have the ability to collect vast amounts of data from consumers without directly asking them, such as email responses, web actions, social actions, mobile actions, in-store activities, call-center usage, products purchased, survey responses and preference information. Even if you are not prepared to act right now on all of these data types, invest in the infrastructure to collect and store it now, so you can leverage it later once you are ready.

Develop deeper levels of insight. In addition to developing a system for collecting big data, you’ll need to develop a schema for siphoning through data to produce valuable insights. Brainstorm what types of information will be relevant and useful to accelerate your email marketing initiatives, and start vetting the data points necessary to answer those questions.

Turn insight into action.Making big data actionable to email marketers is no small feat, although many marketers are already leveraging massive amounts of data every day to create highly personalized dynamic messaging. Your data use will need to be delicately balanced, both obvious and discreet: obvious enough that customers appreciate your use of data to enhance their experience with your brand, but discreet enough not to come off as Big Brother. The idea is to use data to drive contextual relevance within your messaging – messaging that is ongoing and potentially perpetual, driven by the consumer and enhanced by the marketer.

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